The Pros and Cons of Strategizing Content Distribution with Programmatic Ads

It may be increasingly challenging to know where to distribute your content in order to get the most attention from your target audience. One recent approach has been to use digital marketing tools to strategize content distribution with programmatic ads. While this offers some advantages, there are also some words of caution to consider should you decide to go this direction with your content marketing strategy.

Defining programmatic advertising

Programmatic advertising is a way of purchasing advertising that involves using software and algorithms. It involves automating a process that previously relied on human beings, helping to create greater efficiencies related to placing ads in the most appropriate places to be viewed. For its ability to deliver advertising at an optimum time rather than using a shotgun approach, programmatic advertising has grown in popularity due to the significant return on investment it has delivered.

Programmatic advertising as a demand-side platform entails advertisers choosing who they want to reach, while the supply-side platform offers publishers and media owners an inventory of content ready to sell. The Ad Exchange lies between the two platforms where publishers and advertisers meet to generate the programmatic advertising through an auction-type process.

Related: How to Create Long Term Value with Content Marketing

Bringing content into the advertising picture

Typically, an advertising campaign is not focused on words as much as visuals to make its point and compel someone to take action. However, marketers are realizing that they can use the ad space to share the availability of content that their audiences would find valuable, such as a guide, report, eBook or other informational document that is full of ways to help them address specific problems.

Platforms to facilitate this strategy for content marketing are beginning to appear, such as Taboola and Outbrain, which are primarily for native advertising but illustrating the evolution of what is possible in the realm of content distribution and programmatic reach. Others involved include Revcontent, Dianomi,, Flipboard, Feedly, Apple News, Google News and others.

The pros of programmatic ads for content distribution

Programmatic advertising has been pegged as a way to reach the exact audience at the most opportune time when they are paying attention and most likely to be engaged. And, it allows you to do this each and every time you distribute your content across any channel. While it sounds amazing and possibly unrealistic, programmatic advertising has proven to have this potential.

Programmatic can be used to identify those audience members that may have just shopped or searched for a particular product or service you are marketing, so you can then approach them with a programmatic ad about what they were interested in while it is still relevant to them. Imagine being able to reach those people who were just shopping for a particular item. You will be more likely to make a positive impression with your advertising efforts and get them to act than you would if you just put an ad out there and hoped for the best.

Programmatic platforms also have a much farther reach than just relying on the use of one network or just a small group. That’s because these singular ad networks only focus on keyword targeting or tends to just look at a limited audience. Instead, you can go deeper and farther into your target audience, which means a greater return for about the same level of investment. For example, rather than delivering a message to one person that may purchase what you are selling, you can send that programmatic ad with a link to targeted content to millions within your core audience in a matter of seconds.

Potential cons

It’s difficult to find much wrong with adding this strategy to your content marketing plan. As something relatively new and still in development, using programmatic ads for content distribution can be considered somewhat risky, so it may be good to veer on the side of caution, slowly integrating this as a strategy and testing it out before widely adopting it.

This type of strategy won’t work, however, if you don’t first have that clear picture of what defines your target audience, as well as a very targeted approach to your content marketing. That essentially holds true for any type of digital marketing you are now doing, so hopefully this is already set.

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Growing number of players

As the programmatic advertising model is explored as a means of more targeted content distribution, more companies are providing services, platforms and tools to develop this area of opportunity to also accommodate smaller businesses. Such programmatic platforms that appeal to a smaller business include Admedo, Brandzooka and Pocketmath. They provide ways to work on both advertising and content distribution to leverage the aforementioned benefits to build a more successful business.

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